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A narrowly approved change to an Indian Head neighborhood has some Charles County Planning Commission members worried that inaction from the Maryland State Highway Administration will result in more lots with one access point than the county normally allows.

The commission approved two changes Monday to the Falcon Ridge subdivision plan on a 4-3 vote, though one change would allow Falcon Ridge to have only one access point for the 151-lot neighborhood if the SHA does not approve a second access point or act in writing by Dec. 31.

Normally, the county requires a second point of access for subdivisions with 100 lots or more, calculated to generate 1,000 trips a day, the cutoff for one access point.

The original plan called for the neighborhood to interconnect with the Hunter痴 Brooke neighborhood, thus satisfying a second point of access.

However, interconnecting the neighborhoods would require a crossing over Araby Bog, which has been designated a special wetland, said attorney Nancy Slepicka, who represents the developer of the two neighborhoods.

Because of the designation, the Maryland Department of the Environment has indicated it would not approve the interconnection, Slepicka said.

The second change waived the stipulation for an interconnection.

A meeting has been scheduled for Dec. 5 with SHA to see whether they will approve alternative secondary access points on Route 425, Planning & Growth Management Director Peter Aluotto said.

However, that would require SHA to waive some of its other requirements, such as 750 feet between access points, Slepicka said.

Commission Chairman Courtney Edmonds and commission members Steve Bunker and Joe Tieger expressed concerns about allowing only one access point if SHA does not act by Dec. 31.

的知 concerned about the Dec. 31, 2012, date. I知 more comfortable if we extended it so that SHA has time to respond. I知 concerned that if they do not get back to us by then, we値l have no second point of access. Maybe we can give SHA another month and make the date Jan. 31, Bunker said.

Slepicka said that the plan needed closure and that no date would constitute an undue burden on the applicant because then, 菟eople could talk about it forever.

展e致e been working on this for many years. It痴 time to bring this to a finality, Slepicka said, adding that in their experience, it is unlikely SHA would approve such a variance, though the county痴 stance may change their opinion.

Aluotto said the county took a neutral stance on the modification request.

Commission Vice Chairman Richard said the Dec. 31 date perhaps would give an incentive for SHA to act and that it was 田learly doable.

Aluotto said he could 斗ive with the date but acknowledged that it was a 澱ad time of year, considering the holiday season is approaching.

Slepicka said the subdivision is 都afe with one access point for 151 lots.

Tieger said he wanted a traffic engineer to verify that one access points for 151 lots is safe.

Aluotto said there are three main reasons for the 100-lot rule on second points of access. First, too many lots would increase the wait time to get onto an arterial road, which might rush drivers into bad decisions. Second, the county prefers to have a north-south, east-west road network so that all traffic does not empty out into one access point. Third, if the distance from the most remote lot to the access point is long, drivers might speed to get through the neighborhood, causing a safety issue.

Richard said the date was not as important as the process. Richard and commission members Lou Grasso, Bob Mitchell and Joan Jones voted for the motion. Edmonds, Bunker and Tieger voted against the motion.

pwarner@somdnews.com